Roger's SkyPix

Mini Cloud Atlas

Anthropogenic Cumulus

Anthropogenic Cumulus

Chatter about the possible impacts of human activity on worldwide climate (anthropogenic climate change) has been quite the rage for several years, both in scientific communities as a source of legitimate discussion, and in the popular media as a sound-bite fad. While the specifics of such matters are far from resolved -- at least in the scientific realm where observational and prognostic uncertainties abound -- scenes like this show without doubt that people can and do influence short-term weather, especially on very small scales. Evapotranspiration from large corn fields, condensation trails from airplanes (contrails), and smoke and pyrocumulus clouds from manmade fires, are three of many other examples of how we can influence weather. Cumulus clouds from factory and power plant stacks form in a similar way to pyrocumulus, with warm air rising and condensing, except that plumes from stacks aren't as hot and vigorous as those from fires. Stack-plume cumuli usually develop in a rather moist surrounding environment so that dry air entrainment doesn't mix away the plume's moisture too much. In this case, conditions were ideal for it, because the area was in a cool pool of outflow air from earlier thunderstorms.

Salzburg, Austria (24 Jul 5), looking NW